Talk Commerce is a podcast that takes an unbiased approach to all technology platforms with the goal of educating merchants, agencies, and developers on trending topics. For this episode, host Brent Peterson invites Thomas Fleck, VP of Sales DACH at Oro Inc, to talk about B2B stores and how a platform built for B2B can give maximum ROI to the merchant. This episode covers a brief history of BlueGento, how it led to OroCommerce and a sneak peek into a new OroCommerce product.
Below is an excerpt from the episode:
Brent: So just to give the listeners some background, BlueGento is a platform that helped users launch a Magento store without having to have a developer involved. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Thomas: In the very early days, Bluegento was a follow up product to MagentoGo. It actually wasn’t very profitable so we wanted to close it. But around that time, I got a call from Bob Schwartz, former CEO of Magento, with an opportunity. He got us in contact with Universal Music. They had a problem where they wanted to launch a merchandising store for each of their artists. And Magento’s multi-store capabilities was one option. And having a separate instance for each artist was another option. This second option was the use case for Bluegento, which is a tool which could help you spin up multiple instances with the same repository.
Brent: I was involved in that project and it did seem like the perfect solution for what they wanted to do. We ended up launching over 200 stores, but each of them is directed and managed by an individual artist manager who has their own idea of what it should be. And it got very complicated and still very expensive very quickly. I don’t think it was the platform but it was more of the end users who were trying to push it beyond what it could do in the framework that was provided.
Thomas: I think we learned the hard way on how to tackle such a use case. So one dimension was that they wanted to have as many shops as quickly as possible with also a certain level of individuality and customization. The more you customize it, the more difficult it becomes to use.
Brent: I struggle with this all the time where people are enthralled with Shopify and the fact that they call it easy. The only reason why it is the way it is, it’s because you can’t do everything that you want to do with it. You can only do certain things.
Thomas: I think you can view open source as a two-sided medal. So one is the endless options or possibilities, so you can do whatever you want if you have an open source system. The catch is: just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you have to do it. If you’re not experienced or digitally ready, sometimes it’s better to put up some boundaries around your project so that you don’t get lost.
Brent: Can you give us a highlight on why a typical B2B company would want to go with a product like OroCommerce?
Thomas: With an open source solution, you can build whatever you want. But the question is, do you always want to build something from scratch or do you want something that is more out of the box? In B2B, you are selling to an organization and an organization has a different structure than a single buyer. It’s a much more complex process. Having a product that already gives you the tools to build what you want makes the project so much easier.
A good example is if you’re looking to buy 500 line items at once. You’re not going to put everything in a basket one by one. You want to upload instantly and see the pricing in a matter of seconds. Or you want to have the option to request a quote. A B2B-specific product like OroCommerce has that capability.
Another good example is an idea of a marketplace, where you have multiple buyers and sellers managed in one marketplace. And Oro has launched a new product, called OroMarketplace, that is offering just that. With a standard commerce product, you are now able to add marketplace functionalities to your eCommerce installation.
Brent: As an agency, one of our biggest requests is can we make Magento into a marketplace and how well is that going to work? And, to be completely honest and transparent, Magento doesn’t work well as a marketplace at this time. It doesn’t have that functionality at its core. So it sounds like Oro has tackled that problem, which is very interesting.